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Social boycott to be abolished in Maharashtra

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Mumbai: Maharashtra would soon be India’s first state to come up with a law condemning the act of social boycott by caste panchayats on families or individuals.

Any action pertaining to social boycott has been ruled as a crime according to the draft of the act –‘Maharashtra Prohibition of Social Boycott Act, 2015’, which was published on the state government website on Wednesday.

The heinous practices of the caste panchayats had been protested against by rationalist Narendra Dabholkar before he was murdered in Pune. Several activists and academics have also raised their voices for a law against the practice going on for years.

Maharashtra, in recent times saw an increased number of social boycott incidents and violence pushed by the caste panchayats when their rules weren’t followed.

This is not Maharashtra’s first time in enacting such laws as it was also the first state in the country to pass the anti-superstition law.

The accused, according to the act, would complete trial within six months of the charge sheet being filed. If proven guilty, the accused will face seven years of jail time or Rs 5 lakh fine, or both.

The new act defines ‘Caste Panchayat’ as a registered or unregistered body formed by a group of any community, which functions inside that community to control different practices carried out there. It controls personal and societal behaviours of the community members and works out disputes collectively and ‘resolves’ them by issuing oral or written dictums

Either a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class, whichever the case needed, would have the authority to deem the offence under this act as bailable or triable.

Provision has also been made for the appointment of a Social Boycott Prohibition Officer who would detect crimes in violation of this act. The officer would also provide support to the police officers and the magistrate in their duties.

“It is a positive step from the government and we will be sending our suggestions to the draft. One of the major suggestions would be to make these crimes non-bailable. Hopefully we will succeed in it,” prominent anti-caste panchayat activist in Maharashtra, Krushna Chandgude, told The Hindu.

Advocate Asim Sarode also commended this move by the government, saying that it would encourage more activists to work in this field. Sarode had submitted his own draft to formulate an act.

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Maharashtra Government Questions High Court on Categorizing ‘Dahi Handi’ as Adventure Sport

The government has given permission to the minors above the age of eleven years to take part in the celebrations but they have to submit a letter from their parents

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Hindu Festival
Dahi Handi Celebration. YouTube
  • Division-bench including Justices Sadhana Jadhav and R M Savant and raised the issue while hearing the petition seeking an action against the leader of BJP- Ashish Shelar
  • The government has given permission to the minors above the age of eleven years to take part in the celebrations but they have to submit a letter from their parents

Mumbai, Jul 17, 2017: The Maharashtra government was asked by the High Court of Bombay to explain the grounds for categorizing the celebration of ‘Dahi Handi’ as one of the adventure sports in 2015 and giving permissions minors to take part in the celebrations.

According to the PTI report, division-bench including Justices Sadhana Jadhav and R M Savant and raised the issue while hearing the petition seeking an action against the leader of BJP, Ashish Shelar and the rest for dire situations and the restrictions laid down by the High Court for the celebrations of Dahi Handi festival on the year 2015.

ALSO READ: India celebrates August 25 as ‘Dahi Handi’: Find out its significance in Hinduism!

Along with Shelar, the petition was also seeking severe action against the former youth wing president of BJP in Mumbai- Ganesh Pandey, PTI has reported.

Reportedly, the petitioner said to the bench that post laying down of the restrictions in the order by the High Court on 2015, the state government declared in 11th August on the same year declaring ‘Dahi Handi’ festival as an adventure-sport.
In that order, the High Court had stated that the human pyramids that are formed during the celebration, must not exceed 20 feet minors will not be permitted to take part in the formation of the pyramids.

The government has given permission to the minors above the age of eleven years to take part in the celebrations but they have to submit a letter from their parents. The bench has ordered the government to respond to the questions and postponed the issue for further hearing on 4th August, PTI has reported.

It was also noted by the court that the political leaders such as- Shelar, the head of the Dahi Handi Samiti that was set up by the state-government in the year 2015, should stay away from organizing or participating in such celebrations where the orders from the court are being flouted.

The Samiti was set up post an order from the High Court and the mandate of it was to actualize the guidelines of the court during the celebrations of ‘Dahi Handi’, Press Trust of India has reported.

– prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram with PTI inputs. Twitter: @ElaanaC

 


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